The small strange triangular corner of Minnehaha and 27th Avenue attracts me this way. There is a moment where the street splits like an unconditioned hair, just before it seems to end. There is a tiny morsel of street that veers away at the final moment, a wayward rivulet forming an island of old Minneapolis that remains perched on the edge of the great river of cars.
|[The flags of Minnehaha.]|
|[An abandoned building filled with old cars covered in cloth.]|
|[One of the many mysterious alleyway entrances of Patrick's Cabaret.]|
|[A marble marquee.]|
In some ways, this island of old Minneapolis is forgotten and forlorn. Empty windows gape, slowly clouding. Apartment plumbing rusts away. The sushi restaurant, one of only two or three eateries that has managed to survive this pedestrian precipice, is closed due to flooding from above. They promise to re-open soon.
Yet here is Latino Minneapolis. The AM radio station with its faded awning is all business, a small grey office cluttered with paper. A sometimes notorious dance club fills up the old Oddfellows Hall, a detailed beige building so beautiful it sinks in your stomach. In the evenings, on weekends, this corner fills with life. During the day, pawn shops and check cashing stores exploit the weak before taking a siesta.
One of the many wonderful quotes about Paris included in Benjamin's Arcades Project is this: "The universe does nothing but gather the cigar butts of Paris." This corner gathers the beer cans of Minneapolis. The most starkly modern of the city's 50s liquor stores curves like the dashboard of a car with fins, its windows papered over with crimson.
|[Cash your check and dance.]|
|[Thankfully, they changed the yawning awning from garish yellow to world-weary black.]|
|[The Auto Zone begins.]|
To stand there on the sidewalk and gaze across Lake Street is to confront the abyss. It is both literally and figuratively an Auto Zone. Vast parking lots and an unfortunate freeway stretch out. The light rail station seems an impossibly distant horizon, teasing you with its high wire routine. Reaching it would be a circus performance, dashing before dashboards, crossing vast concrete. In the distance, Target and Rainbow and god knows what else sink in endless absence. Somewhere on the other side the city begins again, but from here one can only gaze across the paved canyon and cling to the edge, this lifeline of sidewalk.
If I had a giant concrete flower planter or two, I would plunk them in the middle of this little fractured road. I would place them in the middle of 27th Avenue, stem the flow of cars, and fill them with marigolds. They would reach up to kiss sunshine before the city's most beautiful mural, looking down and splitting light into small glints skipping along the street.
This corner attracts me like sunlight, the golden sublime. I wander and kick an empty beer can into an alleyway filled with wood painted long ago, now fading in old snow. There's nothing here, but I can't bring myself to leave.
|[The sign basically says, "Moved to a Living Location."]|
|[The mural heart of the city.]|